Wednesday, September 24, 2008

there's just one word that I still believe in

I'm all about social justice. Sometimes I think it may be the only thing I am truly passionate about (aside from God, of course, but these two things are so tightly connected in my mind that when speaking about one I'm also speaking about the other). With this passion comes the inevitable onslaught of political principle. But let's get one thing straight: I hate politics. I hate talking about politics, I hate thinking about politics, and I really hate debating about politics. It only seems to divide people, and that is just crazy. Sometimes though, you just can't get around the subject, as much as you try. That being said, I'll be as delicate as I can about what's on my mind right now.

There's a lot going on in this country, and I don't have any idea what will happen... but I'm worried. Reading the news has become a chore. Each day I am more and more apprehensive to do so, because ignorance really is bliss... but then again that sort of attitude is probably 90% of the problem.

An economic crisis has been brewing for a long time now, and it seems to be reaching the spilling-point, and what that's going to mean for us remains to be seen. Yet everybody has their opinions, and they have somebody to blame, and they have their spot on some dumb news broadcast bitching about ridiculous things like how SNL went too far with their jokes about Sarah Palin, all lining up to give their two cents on something that really doesn't matter at all. Or you have presidential candidates saying they want to work together to help this situation, while in the same breath slandering the other for their delayed response or unreturned phone call and blah blah blah blah.

Here's what I think: I think no matter what's going to happen, no matter how good or bad things are about to get, the only thing that matters is community.

I don't necessarily mean community in a national sense. I do not consider myself a patriot, because all I have ever seen of patriotism is an us against them dynamic; a watered-down version of Orwell's Oceania, where the enemy outside the boarder need not be understood, met, felt, cried with, laughed with, listened to, or even seen without being considered less than, because hey, we're number one baby!
I don't agree with this dynamic within our boarders - someone’s color or tax-bracket or cultural dialect does not determine their worth - so why should I subscribe to it when in an outside context; why should I consider myself better than someone else simply because I was born in a certain country? It's absurd to me. We're not better, we're richer. There's a major difference.

But I believe in community. When this takes place within our boarders, sure, call it patriotism... I'll be on board - so long as we're talking about communing with one another; loving one another, looking out for, taking care of, and seeking to understand one another. Because that's what community really is, not waving flags nearby one another while hating the same enemy.

This thing might get bad. It really might. And I only see true community happening on a small scale in American culture. We've always been an individualistic society; it's done some great things, but is also a burden, I think. So let's tune out the voices pointing fingers, and the veiled hostility, and find some love in all this mess. It's there somewhere, it really is. We're all gonna feel this economic crunch, if we aren't already, so let's hold hands and keep each other held up. Let's reach down as much as possible, and try to bring each other up. Let's understand that in the end the only thing that really matters is love.

Because it's true

"If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am but a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing"

I know it's already been sung, but it can't be said enough: love is all you need, all you need is love

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

kick off your sunday shoes

Telling someone that they look like someone else is a strange thing, because it could either be a compliment or an insult, depending on the persons point of view. And there's really no way of knowing, unless that parenthetical "...that's a good thing" is added on at the end.

In one week of work, on average, I get told I look like Kevin Bacon about 4 times. It lost its charm about five years ago.
I'm really not exaggerating, about one in five tables I serve tell me this. Once and a while I will get it outside of work, but very rarely. So I don't know what it is about waiting tables that brings out the Bacon in me, but it does. Maybe people just like to tell their waiters that they look like someone. I've also been told an uncomfortable number of times that I look like Clay Aiken... that one never had any charm. When that happens, I have to smile and pretend like its not an insult. I mean, I don't think Kevin Bacon is attractive, but at least he's kind of cool, Clay Aiken on the other hand... yeah. Yet those middle-aged ladies just love to tell me I look like "that sweet American Idol boy... oh what's his name..."

The guy who said it tonight made it a little bit easier to bear by saying I looked like a young Kevin Bacon. That's not as bad, I suppose. And apparently he had the hots for the Baconator, because he was really flirty, and when he left said, "Goodbye handsome." Gay men love me, what can I say? But hey, I'll take it, cause I don't hear that too often.

Moral of the story: If you're going to tell somebody that they look like somebody else, you should either make sure that other person isnt ugly, or at least affirm that you think its a compliment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

don't huff glue, don't drink pot

Just so you know, upon starting this blog I typed in the title bar, almost without any thought at all: if you need me i'll be over here, huffing glue.
I do not know why I felt this was an appropriate title, or why it was the first thing that came to mind, because a) I never title these things until I'm done writing them and b) I have never huffed anything, much less glue... and c) because... yeah... what?

I'm probably as confused as you are right now. But I'm also now thinking about Love Liza and what a depressing-yet-amazing movie that was, what with the whole wife-committing-suicide-so-therefore-resigning-to-a-life-of-huffing-gasoline thing, and subsequently thinking about how awesome Phillip Seymor Hoffman is and how much I can't wait for Synecdoche, New York, which I am willing to bet will not be playing around here, so I'm already prepared to complain a little bit (or a lot) before driving to Tampa or somewhere else because Charlie Kaufman is f'ing brilliant, and I will not miss seeing it in theaters.

A brief interjectory disclaimer:
1. If you're wondering if I will come to a point, I'll tell you now, I probably won't.
2. Sometimes I feel bad for the people who take the time to read this.
3. This is one of those times.

I'm thinking that really weird stream-of-consciousness title was subconciously referring to the stress I'm feeling at the moment as a result of having to write two papers this evening, or because I had to endure a really rediculous moment in class where pot was mentioned and I felt like I reverted back to third grade when the teacher said something that sounded like a part of the anatomy and everyone would get all giggly - don't get me wrong, I had to bite my tongue really hard not to laugh at this woman using slang drug language, but somewhere in there the point got entirely lost. It seemed like people were speaking up just to get the chance to talk about drugs or something... my favorite least-favorite part was when this one kid corrected her usage of the phrase smoking pot because, and I roughly quote, "you don't have to smoke it, you can eat it, or brew it in tea." I could do nothing but laugh, and die a little on the inside, because, seriously... why even open your mouth dude?

At any rate, that is neither here nor there...

I originally came here only to say this:

In case you want to know how I will be spending my evening, it will be spent slaving over my computer attempting to spit out six pages of analysis on one poem, and then another four for different paper. Luckilly the poem is of my own chosing, so its kind of fun... but still... I spent three hours at a coffee shop today going through my pages of pre-writing and scribblings on the poem itself, and staring at the blinking line in Microsoft Word, and all I left with was a title: In Surfeit of Glory: Sanguinity in A.R Ammons’ “Still”

I think its a pretty cool title though.

How is it that its only a few weeks into the semester and I'm already in this prediciment? And why have I wasted twenty minutes blabbing about nothing here?

For those of you who are still reading, I'm impressed, and apologetic. As a token of my, uh, either gratitude or sympathy, here's some good writing; the aforementioned poem.

by A.R Ammons

I said I will find what is lowly
and put the roots of my identity
down there:
each day I’ll wake up
and find the lowly nearby,
a handy focus and reminder,
a ready measure of my significance,
the voice by which I would be heard,
the wills, the kinds of selfishness
I could
freely adopt as my own:

but though I have looked everywhere,
I can find nothing
to give myself to:
everything is

magnificent with existence, is in
surfeit of glory:
nothing is diminished,
nothing has been diminished for me:

I said what is more lowly than the grass:
ah, underneath,
a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss:
I looked at it closely
and said this can be my habitat: but
nestling in I
below the brown exterior
green mechanisms beyond intellect
awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up

and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe:
I found a beggar:
he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying
him any attention: everybody went on by:
I nestled in and found his life:
there, love shook his body like a devastation:
I said
though I have looked everywhere
I can find nothing lowly
in the universe:

I whirled through transfigurations up and down,
transfigurations of size and shape and place:

at one sudden point came still,
stood in wonder:
moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent
with being!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

so close that when you close your eyes, i fall asleep

Life can really catch up with you sometimes. As of tonight my roommate, also my best friend since elementary school, is engaged.

Obviously I knew this was coming; it wasn't that long ago that I smiled with him when he said he met a girl, or when we sat on swing sets in the middle of the night in a lonesome playground when he told me he thought she was the one, our feet scraping the soft sand while the crickets played their acclamation, the past few months I heard all about the ring-buying procedure, and stayed up late at night asking him how, exactly, he was going to do it... I even knew it was happening tonight... but when I came home from work and saw the smiles, it hit.

I rewind to junior-high, when climbing out of second-story windows at one a.m was so adventurous, when the world was silent and all was dark save for the footsteps of those walking beside you and the vague silhouette of familiar forms in the moonlight. Mischief. Adolescence. Self-discovery. Always having that hand outstretched that you knew you could grab, always knowing that you were with people you loved, people that, like you, didn't really have any answers, but were willing to offer up all that they did know and hope to find some semblance of truth.

I'm already preparing a speech for the wedding. I probably won't mention any of the stories from those nights of discovery and mischief, but, in reality, they will be in the spirit of the thing. The more I think about it, the older I feel, and the more I wonder where the time went, but I don't wish to go back. I'm glad for this. He deserves it. She deserves it. And I'm truly happy for them.

So tonight I'm filled with nostalgia, and gratitude, and (admittedly) jealousy - not that I'm in any rush. I have no desire to rush love. I don't think it should ever be forced, but still... tonight, I can't help but dream...

This song has been on my mind for a while now... but it's playing especially loud this evening...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

i will bury my dream under your fig tree

I am a firm believer in the notion that dreams are meaningful. The problem is that I rarely remember my own dreams, and when I do I can't make any sense of them.

Last night I had a dream that while cleaning out a closet in my room in the house where I grew up, I came across a few shirts, of which it was aware to me, in a manner typical to dream life where one possesses a certain knowledge of something without any grounds, that they once belonged to Sylvia Plath.

They were men's shirts, mind you, and I recall being intoxicated at the mere sight of them. They were very 1960s looking, and I had every intention of wearing them routinely, if only to have something interesting to say in passing conversation.

But one of them, the one the farthest back; white with red patterns in what seemed like the shape of eagles, though the forms never fully took shape but stood out as if only visible in my periphery, gave rise to an intense sensation of foreboding. Inside the front pocket of this particular shirt I found a photograph. It was a profile shot of Sylvia Plath and some unknown man facing each other on a desolate and gray beach, arms straight at their sides and faces completely expressionless. The photograph was worn, and torn at the edges, and felt brittle in my fingers.

In the photograph it was the man who was wearing the white-with-red-pattern shirt, but, and this is the strangest part of the dream, I was acutely aware that this was the shirt Ms. Plath was wearing when she committed suicide. I did not question why it was in my closet, I merely shuddered and returned the photograph, walked away, and felt fear rise in my spine with each step.

So if anyone feels they are gifted at interpreting dreams, I'd love to know what that was all about.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

christian shepherd is everywhere

There is something wrong when I'm finding Lost references everywhere I go. Especially since the show has been in recession for months now, and will not be returning to feed my obscene addiction for several more... but also because it's a freaking television show!
None the less, my mind made references to it, quite naturally, twice today... sigh.

In church this morning the pastor brought up the movie Forrest Gump, misquoting it, actually, which secretly sent shivers down my spine and tensed my muscles; I don't know why I find it so irritating when someone misquotes, but it kills me inside... but that's neither here nor there. Luckily I was able to overcome my perturbation quickly enough to recognize that what he was saying was of some import in my life (not the bit about Forrest Gump, but rather the overall message, mind you) and genuinely had a profound religious experience shortly afterwards.
...Shortly after that I got home and decided to pop in Forrest Gump while I ate some lunch, because hey, it really is a great movie, and you know, why not?

I got about thirty minutes in before realizing that I had loads of school work to do that I've been procrastinating on for days, or rather before caring that I had loads of school work to do that I've been procrastinating on for days*, and just when that thought was crossing my mind I noticed a face I couldnt place. It was the principal of the Greenbough County Public School (side note: there's no such place as Greenbough, AL. I don't know if you're aware of this, but when I found out I was devistated); you know, that really gross man who makes Forrest's mom sleep with him so that Forrest doesn't have to go to a special school because his IQ isn't up to par? Well, I knew I recognized that actor, but I couldn't exactly place him. Torn between sheer laziness and the logical step of walking over to my computer and accessing, I rubbed my chin and muttered to myself vague questions which an onlooker may or may not have been able to distinguish as things like 'now where do I...' or 'I...could swear... for the life of me...' when finally it hit me: Bernard.
Yes, that sad little southern man in Forrest Gump, years younger and significantly thinner, was the same dude who played my beloved Bernard. Somewhere tangled with the satisfaction of solving the puzzle was a level of disdain for this man. I couldn't help but think: what happened to that sweet teary-eyed man with a quivering lip whose love for Rose conquered all? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Several hours later I'm reading the Ramayana of Valmiki for World Lit and finding even more parallels. Did you know that Dharma is social and moral order in Indian literature... or that boon is a gift? eh? eh? eeeehhhhh?

So in one day I have managed to cheapen my own personal religious experience, and one of the most important texts in Indian culture because of Lost. All in all it was a productive day - 150 more of which until season 5... sigh... I know, I know.

*writing this is procrastinating on what is still loads of school work, so obviously I didn't care all that much, and still don't.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

my father always said laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis

I spend about an hour a day on and I get extremely depressed, but I always go immediately to The Onion and after about fifteen minutes I feel all better.

This one made me laugh for an obnoxious amount of time.